Gen Z TikTokers Declare Laugh-Cry Emoji No Longer Cool (Is Nothing Sacred Anymore?)

Gen Z is the reason millennials can’t have nice things. First, they came for side parts. Then, they canceled skinny jeans. Now they want to take away the iconic laugh-cry emoji, too.

The battle is happening on TikTok (where everything seems to be happening these days).

@maijakarppinenMillennial to Gen Z #millennial #genz #millennialsoftiktok #girls♬ Everywhere – Michelle Branch

But TikTokers’ urgency to cancel the emoji is kind of confusing. After all, according to, it’s currently the most-used emoji in existence.

@verossiiDo you guys agree we should be cancelling this one instead ? #emoji #laughingemoji #genz #millennial♬ original sound – Veronica Rossi

“What’s wrong with the laughing emoji[?],” one TikToker commenter asked on the social media platform. Another commenter declared: “it’s so off.”

In a CNN article on the controversy, a 17-year-old claimed that the laugh-cry emoji was “bland” and that “not too many people” use it anymore.

“I use everything but the laughing emoji,” 21-year-old Walid Mohammed told CNN Business. “I stopped using it a while back because I saw older people using it, like my mom, my older siblings and just older people in general.”

So, like any trend, the laugh-cry emoji is just overused, and therefore not cool?

“If you indicate digital laughter for years and years in the same way, it starts to feel insincere. … The hyperbole gets worn out through continued use,” explained internet linguist (wait, that’s a thing?) Gretchen McCulloch, who also authored the book Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language.

Others have a different explanation. Basically, if you use the laugh-cry emoji, you’re old AF. Even if, numerically, you aren’t.

According to Jeremy Burge, the chief emoji officer (that’s a thing?) of Emojipedia, the laughing-crying emoji is most popular among an even old generation than millennials.

“It’s common wisdom on TikTok that the laughing crying emoji is for boomers,” he wrote in a blog post. “And by boomers I mean anyone over the age of 35.” Oof. (Also: fact-check your shit, sir. Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964.)

Here’s a hot take: Stop trying to pigeon-hole people based on generational stereotypes. If someone wants to rock a side part, skinny jeans, and the laugh-cry emoji, let them, without judgment. After all, everything you think is cool will eventually become antiquated and one day you’ll be the Boomer.

Cover Photo: yayayoyo (Getty Images)

Bootylicious: ‘Butt Crack’ Leggings Are Latest Sexy TikTok Fashion Trend

Tastemakers: TikTokers With Coronavirus Try to Shock Their Tastebuds Back to Life

Visit the Mandatory Shop for great deals on your very own Mandatory merch.

Follow Mandatory on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.